A Report from Darby, Ohio

Published November 1, 2000

Editors’ note: The small community of Darby, Ohio, is at the epicenter of the battle between private property rights advocates and government regulators. Dale E. Anderson, president of the Pennsylvania Forest Industry Association, attended a rally in Darby held on September 2 featuring speakers and property rights supporters from around the nation. Here is his report.

The Darby Rally on September 2 at the Dale Rapp Farm was a great event. Participants enjoyed the hottest weather in Ohio all summer and the best hamburgers on Earth, from beef cattle raised right near the gathering.

Dale French, Town Supervisor from Crown Point, New York, spoke about how the Alliance for America is the umbrella group to connect East with West, and how county governments can have an enormous effect on federal actions at the regional level. In short, his message was get involved in local politics. These battles have been fought before, and sometimes an exchange of information can help.

Henry Lamb lent his expertise about the cradle of this tyranny being in the belly of the United Nations, including six federal agencies that have signed on to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, a non-governmental organization that influences the U.N. Shoshone Tribal Chief Elwood Mose, a veteran of the Jarbridge Shovel Brigade, brought the crowd up to date on the Native American experience with the federal government: “They speak with forked tongues,” he warmed. Marge Welch of People for the USA explained the benefits of unity.

After a lunch of the greatest hamburgers on Earth and great home-made pie, Congresswoman Helen Chenoweth-Hage (R-Idaho) delivered a very inspirational message, “Never Give Up.” The whole crowd was chanting “never give up.” After her inspirational address, Helen spent considerable time meeting with individual attendees, addressing their specific questions . . . and signing their shovels!

Wayne Hage explained how the federal government’s land control has its roots with those who hold the U.S. debt. He mentioned Ron Arnold’s book, Undue Influence, as being a good place to start if you want to “follow the money trail” in these matters. Wayne also encouraged everyone to take advantage of the $1.4 million worth of legal research available at the Stewards of the Range (http://www.stewardsoftherange.org/) Web site, which can help us all fight government tyranny.

Dr. Floy Lilly of the University of Texas at Austin delivered some frightening statistics on land ownership patterns, showing that only 34 million people own private land in America. Only 5 percent of those 34 million own 70 percent of the private land. (Maybe landowners can be recognized as a minority interest!)

Diana White Horse Capp, who has testified before the House Resources Committee concerning Undue Influence, explained how this land control is operating in the Northwest with the Interior Columbia Basin Management Plan. Her message: Never trust the federal government, because they are doing to rural America what they have done to Native Americans.

R. J. Smith of the Competitive Enterprise Institute traveled from D.C. to deliver his address. Mike Hardiman, Washington representative of the American Landrights Network, explained what the Conservation and Reinvestment Act of 1999 will mean to people like those involved in the Darby battle.

The stage was opened up to those from around the country with similar stories to tell. The program closed with Dave Skinner leading the group in the singing of the Star Spangled Banner.

The backdrop for the rally was the Grim Reaper trailer truck, sitting high on the hill, behind the stage, with a list of sawmills in Montana closed by a lack of proper forest management on federal land. The truck, full of shovels from the Jarbidge Rally, was driven by the other Dale Eugene Anderson at the rally. Traveling across the country and back on a major holiday weekend, the Grim Reaper generated valuable exposure for the plight of our battered rural areas.

The food was great, the speakers awesome, and (below the radar screen) the networking that happened at this rally was invaluable.

Dale E. Anderson is president of the Pennsylvania Forest Industry Association. He can be reached by email at [email protected]. Fred Grau contributed to this story.